Over the five years or so I have been writing these “Skeptic’s Collection” columns, there have been several occasions (like, e.g., this) when I have received information, often anonymous and always via clandestine back channels, regarding extremely sensitive subjects that have been cloaked in secrecy, but which have been critical to national security. The latest example is my recent acquisition, through similarly confidential sources, of the complete back-story of the sighting by US Air Force pilots and radar operators of unidentified flying objects west of San Diego in 2004. What all such occasions have in common is an ethical question: to publicize or to maintain secrecy. Usually I do the latter. But since the New York Times has already surfaced the story, at least the part that is now public knowledge, I now feel free to disclose the rest of the story and the Trump Administration’s reaction. Just remember: you heard it first from your faithful Resident Skeptic. I am hastily writing this account in case an unmarked black helicopter lands on my lawn, shoots me with a tranquilizer dart, and carries me away to … well … the fabled and iconic “undisclosed location”. In that event, and if I meet him, I will tell Elvis everyone says "Hi".
In the actual event, the headquarters of the US Aerospace Defense Command – SPACECOM – in Colorado Springs accessed recordings of the video from the F-16 that detected the objects. President Trump, several of his senior advisers, and members of his Cabinet – including, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and, for some unknown reason, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos – were immediately summoned to the Situation Room in the White House to view the video recordings from 2004. Following is a verbatim transcript of that conversation.
TRUMP (leaning his golf club against the “sit room” wall): OK. What’re we here for? Anybody know?
MATTIS: An F-16 flying just west of San Diego detected what seems to be a whole fleet of UFOs engaging in high-velocity maneuvers. What you are seeing on the screen, Mr. President, is that video from 2004.
TRUMP: A fleet of … UF … what?
MATTIS: UFOs, sir.
TRUMP: What the hell is a UFO? Izzat something launched by Li’l Rocket Man? Whazzis name? Little Richard? Kim Jong Hoo-zis? If so, I’ll blow his tiny testicles to the moon. Somebody, quick, [snapping his fingers] gimme the “football” …
MATTIS (hastily): No, sir … no, sir … a UFO is … [there follows a rapid-fire description, comprising words of one and two syllables, of what a UFO is, punctuated by Trump’s semi-comprehending grunts] … so no nuclear response is called for … in fact, at this time, no military response at all …
TRUMP (in a peevish and disappointed voice): Shit!Then why am I here? I was eating dinner and watching “Fox and Friends”. And speaking of eating, where’s the damn ketchup for my cheeseburgers and fries … fa’Chrissakes, who can eat 2 double quarter-pounders with cheese and fries without ketchup? And mustard. (Snapping his fingers imperiously) Gimme mustard, too!
A VOICE ON THE SPEAKERPHONE: Mr. President, this is Gen. Lori Robinson. I am Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command. Sir, I want to apprise you of our current estimate of the – “
TRUMP: Wait a minute … you’re a woman? Are you telling me a woman is in charge of NORAD?
GEN. ROBINSON: Yes sir, I am the CinC. Actually, it’s now known as the North American Aerospace Defense Command, sir, or just SPACECOM. Now, Mr. President, if I may proceed … “
TRUMP (slapping the conference table): Well … Gawwwwwwd-DAMN! A woman in charge of NORAD – WOW! Hey Kelly, remind me never to grab …
GEN. ROBINSON: Again, it’s actually SPACECOM now, sir. Anyway, if I may …
TRUMP (bellowing and pounding the conference table): Where the HAY-YULL are my mustard and fries! [The golf club falls over with a harsh clatter.]
[A man in an Air Force uniform – a full colonel – enters the Situation Room, salutes Trump, places a bottle of mustard and a sack of fries before Trump on the conference table, salutes again, does a crisp right-face, and leaves.]
GEN. ROBINSON (continuing): Sir, since at least 1947, the skies of the Nation have been host to thousands of UFOs – Unidentified Flying Objects – the vast majority of which are either misinterpretations of natural phenomena or ordinary objects seen under extraordinary conditions. But ever since 1947, there has been a persistent “hard core” of perhaps 5 percent of the sightings that were, and remain, unexplained, and this 5 percent of UFO sightings, the objects, whatever they are, manifest, not only intelligent behavior, but seem capable of feats of aerodynamics – 100-G acceleration, instantaneous right-angle turns, etc. -- that are far beyond current or projected human technology. This is evidently the case with the objects you just now observed in the 2004 video recorded by the F-16 off the San Diego coast. For a variety of reasons too time-consuming to detail at the moment, but which are summarized in documents contained in the red-striped folder on the conference table before you marked CLASSIFIED – CODE WORD, we at SPACECOM and our brethren the Joint Chiefs of Staff have concluded that the objects recorded by the F-16, and many similar craft whose images have been captured over the years since 1947, are indeed alien spacecraft flown by aliens from a highly advanced extraterrestrial alien civilization.
[Conferees open the classified folders on the conference table before them, and spend several minutes scanning the documents therein. Trump is holding his copy of the classified document upside down while scanning it, turning it right and left, trying to make sense of it. Frowning. Growling. Finally, Trump closes the folder with a snap and slams it down on the conference table.]
TRUMP (his voice sinking to a low, threatening grumble): So, General, you are telling me, your Commander-in-Chief, that the United States, for the ... let's see ... [ticking off the arithmetic on his fingers] ... yeah! ... 71 years ... for the 71 years since 1947, has been invaded by illegal aliens. Izzat right? No passports. No visas. No work permits. No green cards. Just as calmly as you please picking our produce and cleaning our swimming pools as if they belonged here. So the teen-age girl polishing the cleats on the soles of my golf shoes at Mar-A-Lago could be an alien?! You are also telling me that, if these aliens happened to have kids while in this country, even if only in the Nation’s airspace over the country, the kids would automatically be American citizens. And even if the aliens had kids outside this country and brought them within our borders, they would be … what? … DACA aliens? Izzat right, General?
GEN. ROBINSON: Well, I am not an immigration lawyer, Mr. President, but as a layperson, yes, that would be my understanding, as well. But, sir, these are not “aliens” in the usual sense of that term. The beings piloting these UFOs are not even from this solar system, much less this planet. They are from … well … we don’t know where … but certainly somewhere millions of light-years from –
TRUMP (shooting from his chair, pounding the conference table, and spilling the French fries): I don’t give a shit, General! They are aliens, undocumented aliens – you used the term, I didn’t – and they are certainly here illegally. And we have to by-Gawd stop them.
SECRETARY DEVOS: If I may ask Gen. Robinson a question, Mr. President –
TRUMP (under the table picking up the mustard bottle and errant french fries): Sure, Betsy, go ahead –
SECRETARY DEVOS: General Robinson, you said that you and your sources have concluded that the aliens piloting the craft observed off the San Diego coast are evidently from – quote – somewhere millions of light years – unquote away. What is a light-year, and how great a distance is, say, a million light-years?
GEN. ROBINSON: Well, Madame Secretary, a light-year is a very common unit of distance in astronomy, and is defined as the distance light travels in one year, going at a speed of 186,264 miles per second in a vacuum. So one light-year is about 6 trillion miles. So a million light years is the distance light travels in a time-period of a million years, or 6 million trillion miles ... that is, 6 followed by 18 zeros miles.
SECRETARY DEVOS (chuckling): That’s obviously not possible, Gen. Robinson. The Universe is only 6 thousand years old. So nothing can be more than 6 thousand light-years away from anything else. Or I suppose 12 thousand light years, if you count both directions.
TRUMP (resuming his seat): This is all very interesting, but we have to decide on a course of action. And there is only one course of action available: build a wall.
MATTIS: A wall, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Hell yes! I mean a wall around the whole planet!
MATTIS: So you're thinking of a sphere enclosing the entire planet to keep out the aliens.
STEPHEN MILLER (Trump adviser): Basically, a Dyson sphere, except for the earth!
TRUMP: I dunno ... what the hell is a "dice-in" sphere, something to hold the things you roll at the craps table in Vegas?
MILLER: No, sir. It's a giant sphere that advanced civilizations build around their parent star in order to capture all the energy of their star, instead of the less-than-1-percent primitive civilizations like earth capture. But, of course, designing such a sphere, even just for the earth, would be an unprecedented engineering problem. So I don't know ...
TRUMP (waving his hand breezily): Never mind that. I can do it. I can design the "dice-in" sphere myself so it will keep the aliens out. It will be the biggest, most beautiful "dice-in" sphere any being has ever designed --
MILLER and MATTIS in unison: But Mr. President --
TRUMP: -- because, you see, I'm really, like, smart. Real smart. And real stable. [Pounds table] Now forget the aliens for a minute. Somebody bring me some more damn french fries!
James R. Cowles
UFO Meersburg ... Stefan-Xp ... Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Donald Trump ... White House ... Public domain
Betsy DeVos ... Department of Education ... Public domain
Trump in Situation Room ... Shealah Craighead ... Public domain
Dyson sphere ... David Goehring ... CC BY 2.0
James Mattis ... Monica King ... Public domain
Gen. Lori Robinson ... NORAD ... Public domain
Stephen Miller ... Gage Skidmore ... Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported